Mariners Deal for Shortstop

The Seattle Mariners had a need at shortstop and went out and acquired one Wednesday.

Jean Segura is a nice player coming off a 5-win season in Arizona where he posted a 126 wRC+ thanks to above-average power and average defense.

To get Segura, and outfielder Mitch Haniger along with left-hander Zac Curtis, it cost the Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker and infielder Ketel Marte, the club’s shortstop a year ago.

Segura, 27 in March, is arbitration eligible for the second time this winter after making $2.6 million in 2016. He’ll likely lanmd in the $4-5 million range for 2017.

He can play the position despite times when it appears he’d be a better fit at second base. There’s enough arm strength and foot speed to suggest his range, judged by the metrics, are probably correct and dependable, suggesting he belongs in the six-hole.

He’s a right-handed batter who generates good leverage despite standing just 5-foot-11 and his above-average bat speed and short swing help him make consistent hard contact that led to a career-best 19.1 percent line drive rate last season.

Segura is immediately the best option to start 2017 as the Mariners’ leadoff hitter but could bat in the No. 2 spot as well, ahead of the left-handed hitting Robinson Cano.

The club was missing a more stable option at shortstop and they got one in Segura, despite his flaws. What are those flaws?

He’s had two good seasons sandwiched around two poor ones but always has made contact and some adjustments he made in 2015 began to work last season, most notably a more aggressive swing in fastball counts and a more balanced stance he’s been able to hold through contact.

Haniger, 26 in December, isn’t a premium prospect but he rebounded from a poor 2015 to rake at two stops in the minors before making his big-league debut this summer. He’s an average glove with a plus arm, but he has a chance to hit .260 with around league average on-base marks, if not better, to go with solid-average power.

Haniger could help as early as next season, though handing him a starting gig out of spring training — i.e. this Ben Gamel bull — isn’t wise for a team with plans to win 90-plus games.

Curtis is a pure reliever without the raw stuff to pitch in piss-your-pants situations. The southpaw typically sits 90-92 mph with a plus slider and occasional straight changeup. At 5-foot-9 he bravely works up in the zone with late life on the fastball, but it’s not necessarily an approach that will play well in the big leagues.

For two years of Segura plus the two prospects, the Mariners ship Walker and Marte to Arizona; two young players with four and five years of control, respectively. Walker is the big ticket here for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks can be patient this season, so perhaps they start out Walker in their bullpen in long stints, including some of the high-leverage variety, so he can maximize his value and better put to the test any adjustments the staff installs on the side.

Walker will sit 93-95 and touch 97 with terrific life and occasional gloveside run, but the heavy sink on the pitch has been gone for three years and his secondary stuff is as inconsistent as DirecTV in a snowstorm in Alaska.

There’s still big upside there, but the Mariners are out of time to go into 2017 hoping on so many unproven players to break out and perform at a high level.

Marte has all the physical tools to be a finge-average glove at shortstop, but with no margin for error, and to make enough contact to be a regular. He fits better at second — or even center field — but it’s his bat that’s truly held him back thus far. It’s early, however, and he has made strides, specifically in the areas of swing mechanics and maturity. He lost his approach last summer and never got it back.

He runs well, handles the bat well and has evened out his abilities from both sides of the plate. I imagine Arizona sticks with Nick Ahmed at shortstop and uses Marte at second base or he starts 2017 in the minors.

Seattle did pretty well here in adding Segura, and despite the steep price, it’s a move Jerry Dipoto had to make once the opportunity was presented.

The Mariners now have five positions on the field locked up for next season by average or better players — Cano at second base, Nelson Cruz at DH, Kyle Seager at third base, Leonys Martin in center and now Segura at shortstop.

There are now at least two holes in the Mariners’ starting rotation to address, plus perhaps another outfield piece and a bullpen arm or two, but the club is better after this trade.

About the author

Publisher, Executive Editor, Director of Analysis
Jason founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at Inside the Park three years prior. He spent years covering prep, college and pro sports for several news outlets, both local and national, including MLB.com and ESPN Insider. He served as co-host of the afternoon drive show on 1090 The Fan CBS Sports Radio from 2013-2015. He’s not done podcasting yet and now serves as managing editor at HEROSports.com.

5 thoughts on “Mariners Deal for Shortstop

  1. I’ve been following this site for going on about 8 years now. It’s my top favorite site for all Mariner news. Love the work that you all do Jason and Luke!

    Anyways, I love this deal for Seattle. I’m not gonna lie, it hurts to see Taijuan and Ketel both go, but I think that this deal plays to our window. It’s been open ever since we signed Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. The team is in win now mode. Right now I don’t think we have all the pieces to go all the way, but we have enough to compete.

    To me, Dipoto feels like he….hides his hand(doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve) very well. I don’t really have an idea as to what the M’s are going to do to address our pitching, which obviously we still need an arm or two. But I feel that there is a lot of posturing with our front office which is nice to hear for a change.

    To change notes….does anyone think that this pulls us out of the Mike Napoli sweepstakes? I for one certainly would think so, but you never know.

    Jason and Luke I have 3 questions for you.

    1) Do you think that Seattle is likely to acquire another starting pitcher, either via trade or free agency?

    2) And who is “you’re” preferred available option for the starting rotation?

    3) Do you think that the Mariners need to acquire another left handed option for our bullpen?

  2. Travis

    Jason, if Segura is legit for the first few months next season, could you see the Mariners extending him to a longer term deal? or does it make sense to hold on to him and use him as a valuable trade chip if he continues to perform?

  3. Jason A. Churchill

    Tyler Duffey, with an ‘e’ included in the end, is not, specifically, worth all the trouble you just went through to land him.

    He’s closer to the dime-a-dozen bin than anything and there are literally dozens of similar options. And ALL teams want them.

  4. Anonymous

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see the M’s go after Tyler Duffy in Minnesota, who checks off all the marks that Dipoto looks for, including “buying low” from a poor season, with good peripheral and excellent minor league stats, major league time, young, upside, with low contract and minor league options.

    And Minnesota has lots of needs, including catcher (Sucre), SP filler (Cody Martin), high-level prospect RHP (Nick Neidert), DH (D.J. Peterson), relief pitching (Aro, Weber, and/or Kiekhefer) and finally, fourth outfielder (recently obtained Taylor Motter).

    M’s get Duffey and two prospects in return (#21 RHP Felix Jorge and #29 LHP Lachlan Wells).

    Wouldn’t be surprised if they go after and land LH relief pitcher Boone Logan and OF Jon Jay.

    The Walker/Marte trade signals the M’s are “all-in to win) in 2017-2018,

  5. Bus

    “There’s still big upside there, but the Mariners are out of time to go into 2017 hoping on so many unproven players to break out and perform at a high level.”

    My man, JAC, just summed it up in one timely paragraph. The Mariners can’t rely on untapped potential anymore especially when you are being offered fulfilled promise at a premium position.

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